The little birds...

If you watch little birds you will see they are busy and happy! Using whatever they can find they create the most gorgeous little nest.
I would be the little bird with some glittery thread in her nest!
We can be like this. Happily working away with the things that are available to us to create a beautiful and happy home.
All the while with a little song in our heart.

Banner by Free Pretty Things for You.

Tuesday, 5 July 2016

The Christmas Challenge. Show and Tell for June. Part 2.

Thank you everyone for your photos! This is part two of what everyone made in June. Last week was wonderful and this continues!

As usual I represent everyone but can't always fit all photos in so I pick a selection. I love seeing every photo however and love hearing about how things were made, who they are for and all these details! There are so many good ideas!

Firstly, we have Marian. She has been really busy.

This is a gift to one of her friends which is a tea pack, face cloth and moisturiser that Marian made plus an added purchase body cream.

How professional does this look!? Just beautiful. She also made another similar set which a heat pack and hand cream.

Beautiful knitting for her Grand Daughter...

This is lovely. Fabulous knitting Marian!

Double sided baby blanket...

And baby gifts for a baby boy coming into the family...

What a busy month and great variety!

Mel K found an old ladder and turned it into a spice rack!

Mel I love this! She also has found some all wash troughs that she is turning into planters in Spring. They will make great planters! Turning things we have or find into assets is wonderful.

Mary repainted a Lazy Susan for her kitchen...

And made a curtain for under the sink. I love these, I always have.  Previously Mary shared a paper towel holder she had painted and added flowers to. I think I want to see the whole kitchen now as it must be so pretty! 

Elaine made a pillow bed for her Grand Daughter. She even made the pillows first from stuffing and fabric she had on hand. This was a big hit with her Grand Daughter and her parents!

Mimi was on a roll in June! You can follow her blog and see how things are made at A Tray of Bliss. You will find plenty of inspiration. Here is a sample...

Mel C has also been busy! She made a healing balm from Dandelions. 

Mel is trying to find good things to make with things she can pick in her area and she has Dandelions!
This looks really good.

She also made bath salts and gift wrapped soaps. I love how they coordinate! A really lovely gift.

She has also made jam and paper window stars to hang in your window with her youngest son. A really good month Mel. Mel's blog is Thrifty, Frugal, Fun. She is always crafting, cooking and making the most of everything that comes her way!

Jen in NC has been knitting! Plus card making!

Superb work Jen. The jars are Clover Honey and Spiced Apple Butter.  Lovely gifts. Thank you so much for the lovely photography too Jen!

Thank you everyone so much! 

Now on to a productive July! 

What are you working on? I hope the week is going well! It is busy here... xxxx


  1. So much eye candy here! Everyone just blows me away, as usual! That knitting is just sigh-worthy! Well done to our clever community! Mimi xxx

    1. Dear Mimi, Thank you! I am having a heavenly time tonight looking at the linen pics you linked to on FB. Pure loveliness. Some ideas for me! With love, Annabelxxx

  2. Dear Annabel,
    The ladies have done it again! I am amazed each time at the amount of talent each lady possesses.
    I want to see Mary's kitchen, too! It looks so sweet and pretty.
    The body care items the ladies made look so luxurious. Things like this are so expensive in stores, especially the specialty type items.
    And I LOVE the knitting! Marian and Jen, y'all are amazing.
    Today, I started cleaning out the hall closet. It was converted into a sewing closet, with a desk and shelves. With that cleaned out, I can finally move my own sewing things over.
    I haven't done any crafting. I started to make some cards today during a break but realized my blank cards were at our other house, too. Tomorrow my husband isn't working, so we are going to hopefully work on getting the rest of our things moved.
    There is an advertisement in the local newspaper for a farmer's market in October. It will be our town's first market and people are welcome to sell homemade goods and handmade crafts. It is only a $10 fee to set up a table, and I would really like to participate. Usually fairs and markets charge around $80 per day, and I'm just not going to spend that on an experiment. My profit, if any, wouldn't be worth the time. Anyway, I have the market in the back of my mind as something to work towards this summer!
    I hope everyone is having a lovely week! Well done, ladies, on all of your beautiful creations and thank you, Annabel for sharing them!
    Love, Kelsey

    1. Dear Kelsey,
      With all your setting up in a new home I didn't think you would be getting any craft time for a while. But the market could be a really good launch pad for you if you have time to get ready for it. Also if like our markets you could add odds and ends to it left over from your garbage sale etc.
      Thank you for commenting on the wonderful crafts! They are so nice to see. We have reached mid year with a lot of cartoons thats for sure.
      I love that you have a sewing closet! I can imagine you will pretty it up and have a beautiful sewing space. That is lovely.
      I hope this week is going well it sounds like you have got so much done. Its been a big few week! With lots of love, Annabel.xxxx

    2. Hi Kelsey!
      You're living a great story! It's wonderful to read of your progress, and how your husband and home (& now an extended household!) are your priorities, along with the Eternal.
      Regards, Rachel Holt

  3. Hi Annabel, once again, the work from everyone is beautiful.

    I hope you don't mind me asking here, Annabel, but I've been eyeing the handknitted socks the past few show'n'tells and have been wondering if any of the sock knitters could point me in the way of some tutorials. I know my son would love some knitted socks, but being a basic knitter, I hope there might be some help out there.

    Many thanks Annabel and all the wonderful contributors for these Christmas posts.


    1. Dear Janine,
      I will leave it to the knitters... I can go back to as a tutorial was suggested to me for socks and I saved it to pinterest I think, I will look for that.
      I think they are beautiful.
      Also I think its good to extend our skills and a challenge can be good!
      Fun too if we find success!
      Thank you so much Janine, with love

    2. Hi Janine!
      As an advocate of sock knitting, I am impressed that you are taking an interest in this craft. While Annabel is looking for Nana Chel's reference to a tutorial, I can only encourage you onwards. During wartime, sock knitting in the home was considered so important to the soldiers' wellbeing that sock knitting projects (in different countries) were introduced. I had a live tutorial at the Queensland Country Women's Association. I hope to see your hand knitted socks in the near future! You have an eye for detail, and the interest ..... I'll be cheering you on!
      Regards, Rachel Holt

    3. Okay, Nanna Chel's comment under "Gifts for Men" included the following quote:

      Just look up Silvers Sock Class online and you will find a step by step tutorial for beginners. Go brave!



    4. thank you for the sock help. I will check out the online tutorial. I have found a pattern on Ravelry, so am going to give them a try.

  4. One day I will be able to present my gifts as beautifully as the ones posted here. I make beautiful things but never go the next step in the presentation of the gifts. One day.
    I have had a very busy week in the crafting department. I went through the craft cupboard a week or so ago and did an inventory of what I had and what I needed. The needs were addressed. I also put into one pile my UFO's( unfinished objects). I have now completed a sloppy joe, started several years ago, by simply hemming the jumper and the sleeves. I appliqued a little truck onto a onesie my daughter purchased for friends expecting a little boy. I finished a cross stitch I started at least 8 years ago. It took two evenings to have this completed. The sampler is soaking as I have several rust marks from a needle left in it too long to try and erase. The bunnie rug and beanie I had been working on for a month are now all finished and ready to be handed over. The friend who the bunnie rug is intended for lives in the Hunter Valley and works at a winery. She made me a small Christmas tree out of corks last Christmas and sent me up a large bag of corks. Yesterday was a wet day and I happily sat in my craft room with my bag of corks and a hot glue gun making three more Christmas trees from corks. These are now in the cupboard.
    I can now say I have zero UFO's in the cupboard.
    When my daughter was with me, we picked up some yarn that she liked, and I will make her a shawl out of this. Just want to tell you the shawl that I sent to my sister has been worn almost everyday. She adores it. It makes my heart just sing when a gift is truly loved by the person it was given to.
    Hope the sun is shining on you Miss Annabel. It always makes for a wonderful day when it's lovely and sunny.
    Our two friendly magpies, Eddie and McGuire, are warbling on the veranda to let me know it's snack time. We have a container of mince in the fridge just for these two spoilt birds. Life is good.

    1. Dear Jane,
      Your presents are beautiful and always look amazing!
      Well done on finishing off all those projects. That is very satisfying! That has caused a surge of gifts!
      mmm a supply of corks... I will be on the look out for ideas... expect some on FB and hopefully your friend can send more!
      I love that your shawl is a big hit with your sister! That is fabulous. I think it was gorgeous so no wonder she loves it. That is a happy outcome!
      hahah Eddie and McGuire. I am guessing they are Collingwood fans!
      Your week sounds like it is going well.... with love,

    2. Hi Jane!
      Mum was just telling me today that, for rust stains, lemon juice and salt are the things to try. Well done on finishing all those UFO's. What a sense of relief you must be enjoying! Regards to Bluey!
      Rachel Holt

    3. Hi Jane,
      You have inspired me to get moving and clear out the UFOs, of which there are quite a few. Cookie

    4. Thanks for that Rachel. My 90year old and not out neighbour told me e same thing with one more step. She said the rub in lemon juice with salt in the evening and place it on the grass outside. The morning dew will help with the stain removal as well. Will be trying this tonight.

    5. Jane,well done on finishing the ufo's, that is a job to celebrate as it is often a procrastinating job!love Maria :-)

    6. I love the lemon juice and morning dew stain remover. I am going to try this. I do think sunlight is a wonderful lightener, brightener too. What could be better than these all natural tips!

  5. Good morning, I have just recovered 100% from a 5 day stomach bug so I haven't done much. I am almost finished with another tissue box cover.
    Your readers and their photos show so much creativity and resourcefulness.

    1. Dear Rhonda,
      Oh no! I hope you are much better. Thank you for commenting!
      It is so draining being sick. I hope you are on the mend now! With love

  6. Hi Annabel!

    I'll jump right in and tell Jen from NS that it is a very, very cold Queensland day here (worse than the weather down your way, my husband has ascertained!), so her cable socks look rather warm, cosy and inviting! Jen, thanks for keeping the sock knitting craft alive! Who knows ..... some new sock knitters might just join the pastime. I hope so!! I am thinking, too, that cabled knitting seems to bring out the wonderful qualities of wool; the texture makes the wool feel more like it is fresh from a sheep! Everything about your gifts looks wonderful, Jen!

    Now, where was I? Marian, your gifts show that much thought and care has gone into your work.
    The bright pink crochet makes a nice personal touch! I think you should be careful that the crocheters don't see your beautiful knitting and be inspired, just as we knitters have seen such inspiring crochet! You should be proud of your lovely work!! Well done!

    Mel K, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. Annabel should see that her work really is inspirational, and refreshing. I particularly like ladder work!

    Mary, I like how you've been adding pretty features to your kitchen, and the curtain is simply wonderful! "The simple things in life are often the best!"

    Elaine, combining comfort and 'making the most of what you have' is a real winner! It makes me feel comfortable just to see your work here!

    Mimi, searching for the beauty in life - and finding it - is a full time occupation. It's amazing how you keep sharing so many snippets of beauty and sweetness.

    Mel C, your work speaks volumes to me. I especially like how you use what you find around you. I don't have many dandelions here, yet would be interested to hear how your dandelion balm goes. Your bath salts and soaps show an authenticity in style! Your display is a pleasure to see, and very encouraging! Thank you.

    Annabel, thanks so much for your latest show! Crumbs! If you do decide to knit a pair of socks, that'll put pressure on me to learn some crochet! Take it easy in that regard, I reckon!!

    With warm regards,
    Rachel Holt

    1. Dear Rachel, Thank you so much for commenting on everyones work. They deserve the praise I think!
      Well now I am in a dilemma. I love your knitting and I think you are set with these good skills. BUT also I know how much fun crochet is. So I think I will knit when I need a change or challenge and you could do the same with crochet. Every now and then we need a brain bender lol and it is kind of fun. I find crochet quite addictive! What I will hope is that you come across so much yarn that you have great supplies and plenty of options!
      Today we have a bit of sun. At this point the sun coming out at all is exciting!
      Much love and thanks,

    2. Thank you, Rachel. You are so right -- the simple things give us so much joy :)

  7. Hi Annabel,
    So many beautifully creative ladies. I love looking at the pictures of what everyone is doing. I've not really worked on anything for Christmas this week except to harvest and dry herbs to make seasoning mixes and for myself.

    I was reading from your archives on Simple Soap and was wondering if you used fresh or reconstituted goats milk for the liquid and then the powdered goats milk for the powdered milk? It's extremely hard to get lye (caustic acid) here. It seems to have disappeared from our local shelves, so the Simple Soap would be just the ticket. The heatwave here has returned and there are no errands to run or appointments to keep, so hopefully it will be a day of crafting. Cookie

    1. Dear Cookie,
      Harvesting herbs and drying is great. If you have enough quantities these could possibly become gifts too. Little jars of mixes... or bouquet garni are lovely to make as gifts. Good gifts for cooks anyway!
      And so good in your own pantry of course!
      In that soap I used powdered goats milk mixed up into liquid. It worked out very well. I made it quite thick i.e. a bit more powder than usual. Overall I liked the Lux method best. However its a personal choice thing... and if you look for an online soap making shop you can order caustic soda. Its inexpensive provided postage is ok. But seriously I won't bother again with it. The US ladies found good Lux substitutes and A Working Pantry featured the soap that resulted.
      I hope you were able to stay in and craft. In extreme weather this is the best thing to do. The cold has had the same effect here!
      I hope your week is going well Cookie! With love

  8. Hi Annabel,

    I just love all the gifts that everyone has shared. I agree about the presentation being just beautiful. I, too, haven't always excelled at presentation or wrapping, but I am getting much better at it, thanks to all the gorgeous examples I see on your blog! The roses in the photo of mine came from a climbing rose that I thought I might have killed with excessive pruning...not a single flower last year! But, this year it is LOADED in blossoms, thankfully! They are both beautiful and smell divine.

    As for a knitting socks tutorial, I don't know of anything off hand...I learned "old school" with a book. But, two things that helped me when I was first starting out were 1) to keep in mind that when knitting on double-pointed needles, it's exactly the same as knitting on two're still only working with 2 needles at a just move onto the next one when you're done with the previous one. And 2) turning the heel isn't as hard as it seems, if you just follow the instructions have to stop and work back and forth (instead of in the round) for the heel flap, and though it might seem like Greek for the first time, it magically all works out! :) Also, employing some strategy also using a thicker yarn and bigger needles and making a short-cuffed sock to help the project get done sooner for some positive encouragement...

    We got some rain! In fact, it now may rain for the rest of the week! If it's not one way, it's the other! Off to take advantage of a lull and get some much-needed weeding done. You should see how the weeds shot up in the rain overnight!

    xx Jen in Nova Scotia

    1. Yes, Jen, and when you get going on a sock, have to put it down, and come back to it, the needles are held in such a way that the sock falls between you and the needles - so that one doesn't turn the work back to front and inside out! How would I know?!

    2. Dear jen, Your gifts are beautiful! And I am learning roses really like being pruned it seems. I have always been a like trimmer and the times I have gone crazy and pruned more I get more flowers so I am trying to learn this!
      Thank you for the knitting tips. Experience is so helpful to someone just starting out.
      I am glad you got some rain on your garden. While the weeds are growing madly so are the veggies. Nothing is as good as rain! Things just take off with a soaking. I hope it helps you end up with a wonderful harvest!
      Keep knitting! thank you so much for contributing lovely photos! With love,

  9. Annabel,
    So much work and beauty this week! Such talented ladies. I really love everything and the socks make me want to learn to knit! LOL I think I'd better stick with tutus! LOL I am much better at presentation I think? LOL

    1. Dear Vicky,
      Maybe one day and not when you are planting and tending a huge garden you might get a chance to learn knitting. But not just now I don't think.
      Your tutus and cleaning cloths are lovely.. and I think the bed ruffle you made Emma was wonderful!
      Much love

  10. Dear Annabel, thank you for a lovely two weeks of Christmas challenge projects. Everyone is so talented and creative. I love how everyone is so resourceful , like MelC using dandelions to make the healing balm and Mel K using a ladder for a spice rack . I love the knitting , the pillow bed ,I love everything . Thank you ladies for sharing your talents, I am always in awe of the work done by all of you . I am having a creative lull at the moment but hope to get back into it soon . thanks again Annabel and everyone.
    Love Barb W

    1. Dear Barb, Thank you for commenting on the lovely work. It is nice to see isn't it!
      I hope your week has been going well. It has been a very busy week here! With lots of love,

  11. Hi Annabel,
    I would just like to say thank to you and all of the ladies that have commented on my gifts. It makes you feel good and spurs you on when people do comment on your gifts.
    Marian Russell

    1. Dear Marian, Thank you so much for contributing! Everything you have shown me is exceptional. I am so glad for you to get this feedback. Sometimes we need that and as you say its encouraging!
      Have a lovely weekend! With love,

  12. Hi Annabel, I've missed getting to write you about this post due to a couple sets of company. I feel honored to have my little projects mentioned along with the awesome things the other ladies have made. The knitting and sewing and making...what beautiful gifts. What an inspiring place your blog is! Loads of love xx


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